• Bri

Much, Many, or a Lot of?

Updated: Jan 10


Much, many, and a lot of are all used to talk about large quantities. Although these words are very similar, there are some key differences. Let’s take a look at what makes these words distinct.


Much

Much can be used with uncountable nouns and is most often used in negative sentences and questions.

Examples:

I don’t have much time. (negative)

How much water should I drink per day? (question)


English learners often use much in positive sentences by mistake. Please note that much is almost never used in this way in regular conversation.

Examples:

I have much water. (incorrect)

I have plenty of water. (correct)

I have a lot of water. (correct)



It is possible to use much in positive sentences, however it is formal. Usually, people don’t speak like this in their daily lives. It is more common to find this formal style in writing.

Example:

There is much concern for the safety of the county. (formal style only)


Many

Many is used with countable plural nouns and is, like much, used frequently in negative sentences and questions.

Examples:

There aren’t many people here. (negative)

How many times do I have to tell you? (question)


Many can also be used in positive sentences, but it is also a formal style.

Examples:

Many politicians feared the outcome of the next election.

The cave contained many prehistoric artifacts.


Much and Many with Too, so and As

When used in positive sentences, much and many are often proceeded by the words too, so, and as. Unlike when much and many stand alone in a sentence, these combinations are often used in daily conversation and you will hear them quite frequently.

Examples:

There was too much to think about.

Take as much time as you need.

I love you so much.


I had too many things to do today.

Take as many as you like.

I have so many extra tomatoes.


NOTE: You cannot use a lot with too, so, or as.

We had so a lot of fun at the party. (incorrect)

We had so much fun at the party. (correct)


A Lot of and Lots of

A lot of and lots of have the same meaning. They are both informal, however lots of is the more informal of the two. A lot of and lots of can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns in questions, positive sentences, and negative sentences. They are more flexible than much and many.

Examples:

There is a lot of information on this website.

There are a lot of sales going on this time of year.


My teacher gave me lots of homework.

I have lots of things to do today.



Want to watch the video lesson to see if you understand everything? You're in luck! I have two useful videos on the subject!



Do you want to learn more about countable and uncountable nouns? Check out the lesson below for an explanation!